Condi's teeth ain't that bad
Her problems are political, not dental
"Is that tooth gap caused by so much lying through her teeth?"; "Will someone please punch Condi Rice in the mouth? Maybe that will fix that hideous little gap between her lying front teeth."; "Why the hell couldn't she get flown off for braces between questionings?" (results from Google search for "Condoleezza Rice tooth gap")
OK people--enough with the teeth jokes already.
Now, I'm no fan of Condoleezza Rice. And as a cartoonist, I have no problem with a little caricature and exaggeration--I know Bush's ears aren't quite this big. But too often political commentators obsess over appearances to the exclusion of issues--John Edwards's hair and John Kerry's chin come to mind. And when it comes to powerful women, the punditry get extra, extra nasty about it--Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno or Katherine Harris, anyone? I'm sick of hearing just as much--or more--about political women's hair and makeup than their politics and policies.
So looking at Cagle's handy roundup of cartoons about Dr. Rice testifying, I got the uncomfortable feeling that some cartoonists delighted a bit too much in drawing her as ugly as possible--more so than with their usual caricatures. Why give the small gap in her teeth such a large role to play? Quite a few cartoonists made it the main joke. (And in a non-appearance related depiction, would a male politician have been shown making "rice pudding"?)
Anyway, I'm not saying this is true of all cartoonists and commentators. And I'm certainly not saying that cartoonists should erase the gap in her teeth or should try extra-hard to flatter her. Just keep in mind that Dr. Rice's problem is that she is a lying, equivocating, prevaricating and warmongering member of the Bush administration with blood on her hands. Her teeth and hair have nothing to do with it.
Update: Here's a good quote on the subject from Laura Flanders's new book, Bushwomen, excerpted on Alternet:
Condoleezza Rice became George W. Bush's national security adviser, having directed an oil company, managed a multi-million-dollar university and served as a Soviet expert in Washington during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
She was assuming a post in her second Bush administration, the top national security position in the cabinet; but when the New York Times ran a story on the 46-year-old professor, it didn't discuss her views on national security until the twenty-seventh paragraph. The subject cropped up near the end of the Times's long feature, which was dominated by talk of her dress-size, her hair, her hemline, and her place of birth... Los Angeles attorney, Connie Rice, a second cousin of Rice's, says such coverage is simply sexist: "You don't hear the press asking where Dick Cheney likes to shop."
I haven't read Bushwomen yet, but according to Salon, Flanders argues that Bush uses women like Condoleezza Rice, Elaine Chao and Christine Todd Whitman to "put a pretty face on ugly policies." In other words, not only is a focus on Rice's looks sexist, it distracts from a focus on the nasty things she is actually saying or doing. So let that be a warning--time spent starting at Rice's teeth could be time spent analyzing her lies.